For our remix project, Braden and I decided to build an hourglass with two separate scenes. An arctic setting with a polar bear on the top and on the bottom a metropolis setting. However, these two scenes would be connected by the blue sand that would flow from the top of the hourglass to the bottom in an effort to represent the melting ice and then the consequential rising sea levels. The hourglass in itself represents the limited time that we have to solve this problem. The idea was originally inspired by a beautiful piece of digital art created by my favorite artist Yuumei on deviantart. Unfortunately I did not receive permission from the owner of the original artwork to post the picture. Instead, I will provide a link here.
From the moment I saw the piece I knew I wanted to emulate its concept. Although Braden is extremely talented when it comes to drawing, I thought it would be better to make a three-dimensional representation. It was my hope that by being able to physically turn the hourglass to stop, reverse and/or further time – the urgency of the matter would come to life in a way that perhaps could not be so easily felt if it were solely represented two-dimensionally. The choice to do a three-dimensional model was considerably more difficult than simply doing a drawing – therefore, it was a good challenge for both Braden and I to expand into a medium that we were not as comfortable with. In the end, I found that the decision was nonetheless sound, as I do believe that this model has more impact than a drawing would. In fact, it was quite amusing to problem-solve and assemble the piece with Braden.
When I first proposed the idea to Braden, he was supportive, however had some reservations as to how we would build our own hourglass. I did a quick Google search in an effort to find a cheap plastic hourglass that we might deconstruct to suit our needs. However, my search was only able to yield fairly expensive hourglass results. Luckily I found a “diy hourglass project” online which used recycled plastic bottles. We followed this guide closely, except we switched out the plastic soap bottles and we opted for some glass mason jars instead – Braden thought the glass gave the model a “high-end” look as opposed to plastic.
I also thought that it would be nice to write a poem to accompany the piece – as a way of amplifying the model’s emotional impact. This aspect of the Remix Project was particularly challenging as I am not familiar with writing poetry. However, I found much inspiration from a particular poem written by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner titled “Dear Matafele Peinem.” It is an absolutely beautiful poem regarding climate change and was read at the UN Climate Summit in 2014. This poem gave me the courage to write about the issue and to try to convey my thoughts and concerns through an unfamiliar means.
The next challenge was to acquire all the materials needed according to the guide. To find our supplies we had to visit several places as there were many components to this craft project. We visited Dollarama, Wal-Mart and of course Michaels. Our purchases included: two glass mason jars, several tubes of acrylic paint, wooden stands, wooden dowels, plastic animal figurines, decorative rocks, blue sand, industrial glue, and a few blocks of craft foam. Initially, we bought craft foam in an effort to carve out buildings, but we later discovered that modelling clay was much easier to mold and paint. The next challenge came with gluing and arranging everything so that the sand would flow as smoothly as possible. The gluing in itself was difficult as we chose to use E6000 industrial glue which calls for a full 24 hours of setting time.
Ultimately, I believe that we were able to adequately represent the concept of climate change in the way that we aimed to do. That being said, we did have great difficulty with arranging the model so that the sand would flow smoothly between each scene. In the end, we were unable to do so – the sand only flows very slightly. However, I am overall very happy with the end result. Not only do I believe that it gives a sense of urgency to the issue of our warming world, but it also does so in a way that is friendly for all ages. I think children in particular would enjoy playing with and looking at the hourglass. I am also happy with how the poem turned out. While it is perhaps not my best written piece, I am of the opinion that the simple challenge of expanding my writing horizons is enough in regards to progress. As Sarah De Leeuw said: “write shit.” I could not agree more with this sentiment. It is my hope that our model and its accompanying written piece will serve as an aesthetic learning tool for many years to come.
For those of you who are interested, I will post the poem down below.
It wasn’t always like this. A few drops at first,
Just enough to cover my feet. Hardly noticeable.
They told me
There are bigger problems
We got used to it. We carried on.
I could say that I never saw the signs
It was too easy to blame someone else
Someone far away
Who was doing worse
But the water kept rising
And everyone ignored it
Until the floods came for us
I wonder what Milton would have thought
I think I’ve seen this before
More Adams, more Eves
I bet he could’ve written something
Beautiful in tragedy
You look back at that story
And you see it repeating
How could anyone be so
So stupid, so selfish
To take the garden for granted
But then you
Look at yourself
Finally we started,
To see, to care
In my lungs tells
Me that it